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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Luke 7:48

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I. JESUS AND THE PHARISEE.
A. Simon the Pharisee desired that Jesus would eat with him.
1. What prompted this desire, we are not told.
a. Whether he was a serious seeker or not we are not told.
b. It is possible that it was just a set-up, he was just looking for something to find fault with about Jesus.
2. People still desire to be around Jesus for different motives.
a. Some who are genuinely searching, and others who are just seeking to find fault so to confirm their unbelief.
b. Some of you who have come today are seeking answers and other seeking arguments, you are hoping to find some fault by which you can justify your unbelief.
B. He was certainly an ungracious host.
1. He did not provide Jesus water to wash His feet.
a. The proper thing was to have his servant wash the feet of the guests.
b. People wore open sandals and the paths were dusty, so at least water was poured over the feet. He did not even do that.
2. He did not greet Jesus with a kiss.
a. The common custom was for the host to lay his hand on shoulder of the guest and give him the kiss of peace.
b. That was a sign of respect and always done to the Rabbi.
3. He did not anoint the head of Jesus with oil.
a. The general custom was to put a drop of attar of roses upon the head of the guest.
b. He offered to Jesus none of these gracious actions that were just common courtesy.
C. He was soon finding fault with Jesus.
II. THE WOMAN.
A. A woman of the city who was a sinner. She was a prostitute. Jesus acknowledged that her sins were many.
B. She heard that Jesus was eating at the house of Simon.
1. The houses were usually built around a courtyard, and when there was such a feast the people were free to come in and listen to the words of the Rabbi.
2. This woman was a notorious sinner came and stood behind Jesus and began to weep.
3. When they ate at such a feast, they did not have chairs around a table, but they reclined upon the floor, leaning on their one elbow, their feet were behind them. That is how it was that she stood at His feet behind Him. vs 38
4. Conscious of her great guilt, and standing behind one who was so holy and pure, her heart began to break over the sense of her guilt. Her tears began to flow, dropping on the feet of Jesus.
5. Perhaps with a little embarrassment she began to wipe the tears off with her hair.
6. She then began kissing His feet, and she took the perfume which was generally carried in a little phial called an alabaster, and worn around the neck, and poured the perfume on the feet of Jesus.
C. The response of Simon the Pharisee was that of contempt for the woman and doubt concerning Jesus.
1. He was thinking to himself, "If this man were a prophet, He would have known what kind of woman this is, and surely would not have allowed her to touch Him."
a. The Pharisee's were very careful not to touch sinners.
b. When they would walk down the street, they would hold their robes tight against their bodies for fear that they might swing out and perhaps touch a sinner, or a woman, or a Gentile, and they would thus become defiled.
2. To allow a known prostitute to touch you was unthinkable.
a. They felt that the sin could somehow transfer off to you.
b. They would be considered unclean, and not be allowed into the place of worship.
III. THE RESPONSE OF JESUS TO THE QUESTIONS AND DOUBTS OF SIMON.
A. "I have something to say to you."
1. He responded, "Rabbi, say on."
2. Jesus told the story of a man who had two debtors, the one owed 500 pence or about $50,000, and the other $5,000.
3. Neither could pay his debt, so he forgave both of them their debt.
4. Question, "Which one loved him the most?"
5. They were both debtors, they could neither one pay.
a. We realize that Jesus is talking about a debt of sin.
b. One a great sinner, the other fairly righteous, but a sinner still.
c. No man can atone for or pay the debt of his sin.
d. They were both forgiven, but which one appreciated the forgiveness the most?
6. Simon answered, "I suppose the one that was forgiven the most."
a. Jesus answered, "You are right."
B. The contrast between the sinful woman and the self righteous Simon.
1. Jesus mentions his discourtesy.
a. You did not provide water for My feet.
b. You did not kiss Me.
c. You did not put perfume on my head.
2. The gracious acts of the woman.
a. She washed My feet with tears, dried them with her hair. Incidentally for a woman to let down her hair in public was considered indecent. When a woman was married she would tie her hair up in a bun, and would never again be seen publicly with her hair down.
b. She was continually kissing His feet from the time He reclined at the table.
c. She anointed His feet with the costly perfume.
C. Her sins which are many are forgiven, for she loved much.
1. His actions showed that he loved little.
2. Today there are those who love much and those who love little. Shall we describe those who love little?
a. They come to the place of worship quite regularly, they sing, but not too loudly for they do not want to be too enthusiastic.
b. You will never see them at a prayer meeting, and they rarely come to a week night service.
c. They take only enough spiritual nourishment to barely keep them alive.
d. They have family prayer sometimes. Mainly at meals.
e. They can count on one hand all the people they have led to the Lord.
f. All the things they have done for the Lord can be recorded on a small scrap of paper.
3. Sometimes it is much harder for a good and moral person to receive salvation than for a hardened criminal.
a. There are always those who do not want to see certain people forgiven.
b. I think of all the fuss over the case of Dahlmer who had murdered so many boys. He confessed to receiving Jesus as His Savior in prison, and after he was murdered, there were many who could not accept that God would forgive him and receive him into heaven. If his was a true repentance, think of how great his love for the Lord must have been.
c. The man who is accused of the murder of Denise Huber has made a confession of faith in prison, not many people are willing to allow him in heaven.
d. Charles Tex Watson of the Manson family has made a profession of faith in Jesus in prison, and there are so many who are not willing to accept that God will forgive him. His love for the Lord exceeds that of those who are still condemning him, for he has been forgiven so much.
e. They who are forgiven much, love much.
D. He then said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."
1. That must have sounded like the music of heaven in her ears.
2. Unforgiven, unconfessed sin can hang heavy upon a persons mind and heart.
3. David described his misery caused by the consciousness of his guilt. "My bones waxed old through my roaring all day long, day and night your hand was heavy upon me. My moisture is turned into the drought of summer."
E. Jesus then added to the woman, "Your faith has saved you, go in peace.
1. The war is over. Your rebelling against God has come to an end.
2. You can now know peace.
3. As you go from this house of worship this morning, will you be going in peace, or will you still be burdened by the sense of your guilt, still committed to do evil?
F. It is possible to love much even if you have not been forgiven much. That is, you do not have to be some rank sinner to love the Lord much. All you have to do is to know Him much, and the more you know Him the more you will love Him.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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